Politics

Bipartisan group of senators announce agreement on gun safety legislation

A bipartisan group of senators announced an agreement on principle for gun safety legislation Sunday, which includes “needed mental health resources, improves school safety and support for students, and helps ensure dangerous criminals and those who are adjudicated as mentally ill can’t purchase weapons.”

The announcement includes the support of 10 Republican senators, which was needed to pass the bill.

The proposal includes support for state crisis intervention orders, funding for school safety resources, an enhanced review process for buyers under the age of 21 and penalties for straw purchasing.

Most notably, the legislation includes a red flag provision, with the government providing “resources to states and tribes to create and administer laws that help ensure deadly weapons are kept out of the hands of individuals whom a court has determined to be a significant danger to themselves or others.”

The proposal would also include “major investments to increase access to mental health and suicide prevention programs; and other support services available in the community, including crisis and trauma intervention and recovery.”

Additionally, the legislation would provide resources “to expand mental health and supportive services in schools, including: early identification and intervention programs and school based mental health and wrap-around services.”

The lawmakers said in their release that the proposal provides money “to help institute safety measures in and around primary and secondary schools,” while also supporting “school violence prevention efforts” and training for school employees and students.

As for the enhanced review process for buyers under 21, the lawmakers said the proposal “requires an investigative period to review juvenile and mental health records, including checks with state databases and local law enforcement.”

The group on the release includes Republican Sens. John Cornyn of Texas, Thom Tillis and Richard Burr of North Carolina, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Democratic senators on the release include Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly of Arizona, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Chris Coons of Delaware, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. It also includes Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with Democrats.

“The principles they announced today show the value of dialogue and cooperation,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a statement. “I continue to hope their discussions yield a bipartisan product that makes significant headway on key issues like mental health and school safety, respects the Second Amendment, earns broad support in the Senate, and makes a difference for our country.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would put a bill on the floor “as soon as possible.”

“After an unrelenting wave of gun-related suicides and homicides, including mass shootings, the Senate is poised to act on commonsense reforms to protect Americans where they live, where they shop, and where they learn,” he said, adding: “We must move swiftly to advance this legislation because if a single life can be saved it is worth the effort” [CNN].

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK TIMES

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